Friday, June 26, 2015

Still Stable

Vanderbilt finally called this afternoon. I'm actually not sure the nurse was calling with my results since she asked for insurance information and then seemed surprised that I didn't already know the results of the scan and CA125, but I have results whatever the original reason she called.

My CA125 is continuing to slowly rise, but the scan shows no change so I will continue with the Tamoxifen and see Dr. C in 12 weeks. The nurse told me that Dr. C had remarked on how well "Mrs. Lewis looked" which is nice to hear. I'm thinking she may not have been quite as pleased if I would have admitted to how often I'm forgetting to actually take the Tamoxifen. Shhhh.

The weekend plans include:

**Trying to take advantage of Blurb's flash sale and make a Disney photo book. I have something like 1,500 pictures from those 8 days so I'm trying to organize them and then cut the number down to something a little more manageable.

**Camden has a baseball game tonight. It's incredibly hot and there's a possibility of thunderstorms so I'm secretly hoping it gets cancelled.

**Tomorrow morning we are going to take advantage of free Krispy Kreme donuts for every A on the kid's report cards then make a trip to the Clarksville downtown Farmer's Market. Yes, I do realize there is a philosophical contrast to eating donuts then going out to buy vegetables.

**Hoping to see Inside Out with the kids either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

We're at the point in the summer where everyone is getting on each other's nerves, both adults and children. It's okay - this point arrives every year, and we'll get through it.



DSC_7103 copy

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Behind the Scenes

As if our Disney trip wasn't going to be fabulous enough all on its own, a friend (of a friend . . . of a friend) upgraded our family to Club Level at the resort. This meant we had lots of extra pampering, food, drinks, an entire level dedicated just to those with "club" status, etc.

It. was. awesome.

We also received extra Fast Passes several days, and for those of you familiar with Disney - these Fast Passes were just open, general passes. As in, we literally just walked up to the ride/attraction and walked on in. No advance scheduling needed.

And as if all that wasn't enough, this friend (of a friend . . . of a friend) arranged for the head animal keeper to take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the open savannas that are at Jambo House and Kidani Lodge at Animal Kingdom.

I wasn't allowed to have my camera with me for most of it, but he took us in a van and we rode around the savanna for about 2 hours, observed the red river hogs up close (and their babies), and even got to go into the barns and feed an okapi. We all agreed that this behind-the-scenes safari was just about our favorite event of the whole trip.

I took a few pictures of the giraffes, because, hello! I hope they give you some perspective on how close we were. They were taken from the front seat of the van with the window down, and I most certainly did not have a zoom lens with me. What an experience!




For perspective on how big they are - this was out the opposite van door. And this was just a baby giraffe.




Not quite as beautiful, but these red river hogs are super interesting and apparently incredibly intelligent.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just a Spoonful of Sugar

We had several character meals at Disney, but with the exception of our dinner at The Royal Table (hello, Cinderella's castle!), they were mostly with big stuffed animal characters who couldn't talk. Not that they weren't fun, but my kids were just a tad old to be in awe of them.

I think the general idea is that Disney has characters everywhere, and you meet and greet all the time out on the street. That was definitely not our experience - there were characters available, but there were very long lines to go along with them.

On Friday morning we were surprised to run into Mary Poppins as we walked into Magic Kingdom, and she was spectacular. It was like we had the real live Mary Poppins walk off the movie screen into our world. She was beautiful, so engaged with the kids, and full of cute little Mary Poppins quips.




(he did not stick around for a hug)

my favorite :)

We had several more character experiences later on: Cinderella's stepmother was awesome; Elsa and Anna were pretty outstanding as well; Belle was beautiful. But Mary Poppins was the first character that made me really dig Disney.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits

Here's the deal. I've got so many pictures to share from Disney and cousin/grandparent visits, I do not even know where to begin. Seriously, there are so many pictures that I'm about to just walk away from the computer.

How about if we just start with these.




I had an engagement photo shoot a couple of weeks ago (my first). Can you believe this kid was 4 when we first met him and taught him in children's church?



The appointment with my oncologist, Dr. C, was this afternoon. Unfortunately, after waiting for nearly 3 hours, she stopped by the exam room to let us know there was a hold-up with both my blood work and my scan (from the previous week). She apologized many times, asked if we had questions, and told me that I made her day by saying that I had not given her or cancer a second thought since I'd walked out her door 8 weeks ago. Let me tell you, she was downright chipper at that news! She even scolded me, "you look like you've been in the sun, Mrs. Lewis!!" Yes, just a shade past the palest pale warrants color for me.

She reviewed my scan and didn't see anything worrisome, but is withholding final judgment until a radiologist could read it. Hoping I hear something in the next day or two.

Brian and I had a late lunch at Edleys (he was not as big of a fan as I was. what??) then decided to risk listeria by having a scoop of ice cream at Jeni's. They've been closed down TWICE since May for listeria. We survived. 

Friday, June 19, 2015


Pinterest and DIY bloggers are full of ideas to freshen up your kitchen, most notably - paint those cabinets! Easy peasy, right?

The reality is that you spend 2 days simply prepping the area, multiple days painting. All of the contents of your kitchen are dumped into your bedroom, which makes you feel like you're living as a hoarder. There is a solid layer of dust everywhere. And no one tells you there will be enough fumes to give everyone headaches. I jokingly said last night I was pretty sure the fumes were giving me cancer. And we've had a few laughs about the fact that Brian thought it was going to be a 2-day job.

Brian has been a rock star; he's on day 4 of 12-hour days. We're hoping by tonight the last coat of paint will be on the cabinets, and the clean-up can begin. The faces of the cabinets and trim won't be quite ready yet, but I'll be satisfied just to get rid of some dust and an actual working stove/refrigerator/microwave.

If I would have had any idea of how much work this would be for Brian, I would have never casually suggested how nice it would be to have white cabinets. Just one more sign that Brian loves me like crazy because he could care less about white cabinets.

The poor kids are feeling the summer blues already. Of course, they've been on their own because I've been at work and Brian has been dealing with the paint situation. Rory was in tears last night because "it's just so boring around here." I guess helping out around the house is just not quite the same as Disney. ;)



The past 8 weeks have flown by and I go to Vanderbilt tonight for a CT scan and then I'll see Dr. Crispens for results Tuesday. I am feeling little to no anxiety, and I physically feel great. It crossed my mind earlier this week that sometimes when I'm feeling so little anxiety that it is God's way of preparing me for bad news, but I'm going to just embrace the feeling of no anxiety and not worry about results.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lazy Days of Summer

To catch up . . .

The kids went to camp with Brian and their cousins while the mamas had photo shoots, ate good food and watched alot of NBA basketballs.

Photo taken a few seconds after arriving home from camp Friday. Somehow they don't look quite as worn out as I thought they would.

Camden's first baseball game in over a year (in which he pitched the entire game, hit a home run, and nearly broke his nose).

A certain 8 year old in our house returned from her first week of camp with all 10 pair of underwear still clean, tucked safely away in the top of the suitcase.

One of the boy cousins (I'll leave it a secret as to which one) got scared one night at camp and decided not to brave the trip to an actual bathroom. Let's just say a styrofoam cup pulled from Uncle Brian's suitcase was put to good use (and then promptly dropped onto the cabin floor).

Took a trip down memory lane at our alma mater (all 3 Hale girls plus their spouses met and graduated here). Pictures from the big girl camera to come.

We spent many long hours early in our dating relationship on this swing. Brian likes to tell the story of how we "studied" together for our NT final, and he failed for the first and only time in his college career.


The window just above Camden was my work home for many, many years.


Everyone left this morning; I worked; Brian and the kids started their summer at home. No Disney, no cousins, no camp. It feels very quiet around the house, and I have a suspicion we'll all need a bit of transition time from the busyness of the past couple of weeks into the slower days of summer break.

Brian, however, doesn't believe in transition time and put himself to work sanding and painting our kitchen cabinets . . . and has a deadline of Thursday since I'm hosting a group of women from church Thursday evening.
Welcome to the lazy days of summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tea Parties

I think these pictures are a pretty clear representation of how the past couple of days have gone.

Jeni's, of course.

Girl's night, which included our own cheese board and Game 3 of the NBA Finals.


Tea Parties





Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Tuesday Tidbits: Disney edition

The view from our room.


I have never spent so much time waiting, walking, or riding on a bus. Even with the crazy crowds (seriously, more people than I've ever seen in my life), Disney was pretty awesome at moving people along.

Disney can fit more people into a small space than you would ever think possible. Each time I would think "surely they're not going to add more people" they'd add twice what I thought the space could hold.

Camden already has a great appreciation for food, but it was really fun to see him dive into the menus. He had sword fish, all kinds of seafood, eggs with Hollandaise sauce, etc. No chicken nuggets for this kid!

And speaking of food, our favorite meal overall was at Ohana (although our anniversary date night at Artist Point was also amazing). The hot fudge sundae at Ghiradelli in Downtown Disney was easily the best dessert, and the famous Dole Whip was also very refreshing (the four of us split these desserts).

The Karmelkorn from the German section at Epcot was also ridiculously delicious. We just might have brought some home with us.

I discovered cheese boards while at Disney and chose it as my appetizer three nights in a row; each night was better than the previous. The cheese board at Cinderella's Royal Table was delicious; the one at Les Chef de France was even better, and the one at Artist Point was the tastiest thing I've ever put in my mouth.

It's very possible I was as star struck by the princesses, Mary Poppins, Anna and Elsa, Cinderella's wicked stepmother, etc. as the kids. I cannot believe how the Disney cast members fully embody their characters.






Rory's favorite ride was the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

Camden's favorite ride was Tower of Terror.

Brian's favorite ride was the Rock n Roll Coaster (the rest of us were terrified after this one).

My favorite ride was probably Tower of Terror . . . but not until the second time around. The first time I thought we were going to DIE.

Camden and I ended up riding many of the rides together, and we spent much of those rides gripping hands or each other's knees.

I knew the kids would have a great time on this trip, but I was surprised at how much fun it was for the adults as well. Magical, maybe? ;)

The firework celebration over the castle at Magic Kingdom really was magical. I'll never be satisfied with another small-town firework show again.

We got stuck in the rain two different times, both at the end of the day thankfully. I have to say that riding a bus with standing room only after a long day soaked head to toe is not my favorite.

I was super proud of both kiddos and adults - no meltdowns whatsoever.

The kids loved the pool at our resort. I wish we would have thrown the schedule out the window just a tad more often and taken advantage of it a few more times.



One of my most favorite things of the whole week was all the ethnicities represented and different languages spoken at Epcot. Straight up American was in the minority, and I loved it. Also, Camden has a killer English accent.

Rory had an extravagant Bippity Boppity Boutique experience. I had my doubts that any child would wear a full costume in Florida in June, but the pull of being a princess surrounded by other princesses was strong. Rory chose Elsa (of course) and was adamant about the blonde wig. I would have chosen something a little more . . . not blonde, but it made her happy.


I took photos of all our fancy food, but I promise not to bore you with them.

Epcot was beautiful and the only park that I pulled out my big girl camera for. I'll post pictures from Epcot one of these days - they deserve their own post.


You all deserve your own tickets to Disney if you've made it this far.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Hi-ho, Hi-ho . . .

. . . . it's off to camp we go

While other mothers posted pictures of themselves dropping off their kids at camp, unpacking their suitcases, making their beds, etc. . . . Becky and I sent them off to camp with Daddy/Uncle Brian and headed to the movies yesterday afternoon then came home to watch the NBA finals (go, Cleveland!). No tears from these mamas (or kiddos - they were pretty happy to escape).

Today Becky picked me up from work and we headed to Trader Joe's for some snack supplies, ate supper at Edleys (oh. my. stars. Amazing!) and had two scoops of Jeni's ice cream. We might be having as much fun as the kids are. It's anyone's guess how much fun Brian is having since he's the adult in charge of all these excited kids, but I know we'll hear all about it when they return Friday.


Friday, June 05, 2015

We're home!

We arrived home from Disney about 10:15 Wednesday evening. I headed back to work Thursday morning while Brian and the kids prepared for a community outreach event we have scheduled for Saturday. We have family arriving Saturday and then Brian and the kids (along with the cousins) head to camp Sunday.


I feel like I need to take a deep breath!

We spent 8 days fully enjoying the Disney experience and each other without a care in the world. I came home with a full heart and so many memories. Brian and I both have said we're not sure we could ever go back to Disney because there's just no way a second trip could live up to this adventure. All four of us spent the week feeling spoiled beyond measure and so loved by our friends and family who made the trip happen.

I'm slightly (or maybe alot) overwhelmed with the sheer number of pictures and memories and am having a very hard time deciding what to share here. For now, I'm going to simply share my two favorite pictures (taken by the Disney photographers) from our very first night at Disney and then fill in the blanks as summer progresses.

Space Mountain. Pretty sure our faces tell the tale.


Headed out of Magic Kingdom our first night. The castle truly is magical. We were exhausted, but so happy!